State argues for dismissal of Arizona schools suit

A lawsuit declaring Arizona public schools have been short-changed by a faulty state funding process should be dismissed, lawyers for the state said Friday.

Attorneys representing the Legislature and the Arizona School Facilities Board argued for a dismissal before a Maricopa County Superior Court judge, saying the plaintiffs want the court to weigh in on what is a policy decision.

The suit was filed in April by a coalition of school districts, citizens and education groups. According to the lawsuit, the state’s current school funding scheme is unconstitutional because it violates the “uniform and general” clause of the state Constitution.

The state Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that it is the state’s responsibility to provide cash for new schools, major maintenance and things like textbooks. Under the constitution, the facilities board must provide funding so districts meet guidelines of adequacy for school facilities.

The Legislature began cutting that spending during the Great Recession, and it hasn’t been fully restored.

Schools say they’ve been shorted about $2 billion.

The plaintiffs want the judge to call for changes to those guidelines. Lead defense attorney…

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